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11 Okt 2019

Qatar: Study suggests heat mitigation strategies can allow workers to perform roles safely, despite extreme conditions

A study commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Qatari Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), recommends nine key areas where employers can take steps to guard their workers against heat stress. It found that with these effective measures in place, outdoor workers can safely perform their work in Qatar, despite extreme levels of heat and humidity.

The study was conducted over the summer of 2019 to examine the incidence of occupational heat stress in workers who undertake manual labour in Qatar. The study uses a comparative method, examining working conditions and heat stress incidence on a World Cup stadium construction site, where comprehensive heat management strategies were in place, with an agricultural farm where far fewer heat protections were implemented.

Recommendations made by the study  include adjusting the summertime working hours, mandatory heat stress mitigation plans for all companies across Qatar, annual health checkups for workers, as well as greater worker empowerment.

Houtan Homayounpour, Head of the ILO Project Office in Doha, said "we are working with the Government to translate the recommendations of this study into improved legislation, and to promote the replication of the good practices that were identified."

The nine key findings from the study outline practical steps employers can take to ensure effective heat management plans are in place and labourers are able to work safely.